What is happening to my brain?

Emotional changes during puberty

You may have already noticed that you're experiencing some emotional changes during puberty. Some changes are really positive – others are more challenging. Here are some types of emotional changes during puberty that you might be noticing:

Your thinking changes

You're now able to think more abstractly including how to analyse and think about things more like an adult than a kid.

You can express your feelings a lot better

Your feelings might start to make a lot more sense to you. You may find that you can express what you're feeling a lot better, whether you're feeling happy or sad. This gives you a clearer sense of 'self' – of who you are. But just to complicate things a bit, you could also be feeling more self-conscious and less inclined to open up.

You feel really emotional

You may get mad at parents and friends easily. A little thing that wouldn't have bothered you earlier drives you crazy now. Your little sister might really get on your nerves. Feeling angry is normal during puberty because of the hormonal changes. In fact, for the same reason, many women get edgy just before their periods.
'Mood swings' are also common throughout puberty. This is when you feel really happy one minute and then really angry or even sad the next. So if you're feeling angry you may want to count to 10 (it works) and think about it before you yell at your mum or friend.

You cry a lot

You may cry because of something very serious that makes you feel sad or disappointed – or you may burst into tears because you left your favourite T-shirt at the gym. This is also normal. It happens to a lot of women having premenstrual syndrome too, and will happen to most girls throughout puberty. Just accept that you're a little emotional right now.

You feel a lot more womanly

Some girls find that they're feeling more feminine. Whether you prefer playing footie with the guys or comparing notes with your girlfriends on nail varnish, remember – that’s what happens ….

You think you're weird

You probably compare yourself to your friends, and feel like there's something wrong with you. You may feel unsure of yourself. Well guess what? Everyone else does, too. Your personality is growing and you're becoming even more unique – when all you want is to fit in more easily. Just remember that everyone else your age is self-conscious too, so chances are they won't be worrying about you.

It's only puberty

We keep telling you how normal all of this is for a reason – because it is. You can use this special time in your life to learn about yourself and the emotional changes during puberty that you may experience. Here are some more ways to keep your sanity:

  • Take care of yourself – be careful with food cravings (for example, wanting only ice cream for dinner). Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
  • Exercise. This is good for your body and mind. Taking out your anger on a tennis ball or treadmill can make you feel better.
  • Talk to someone. Amazingly, parents and teachers can be really helpful, and you can count on other adults, too, if you're more comfortable with that.
  • Your friends might really appreciate knowing that you're going through the same thing they are, but don't depend on them for real information. Go to someone who's been through it.
  • Concentrate on school and hobbies. Your brain is growing, and this is a great opportunity to use it. The hobbies that you liked in the past will be even more fun now, and you'll develop new interests.
  • Do something creative to express all of your new emotions.


  • Holmes and Hutchinson. Girlology’s There’s something new about you. Mass General Intellectual thinking.